Universal acclaim - based on 31 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 31
  2. Negative: 0 out of 31
  1. 100
    This is a stunning album, bristling with astute and funny words, glorious tunes and delivered in performances all the more impressive for sounding so utterly effortless. [Mar 2008, p.80]
  2. OK, 19 songs, gotta be filler here somewhere, and there is, only it isn't melodic -- with all music credited to the band, Shonna Tucker's muzzier lyrics and Mike Cooley's more elusive ones sound as well-turned as those of Patterson Hood, who's never written better.
  3. With their trademark of talented musicianship, beautiful story-telling and unique brand of rock and roll, Drive-By Truckers are unmatched in every sense of the word. This is a remarkable album and one that is downright near perfect.
  4. As a collection of songs, Brighter Than Creation's Dark ranks among Drive-By Truckers' best, even though there are a couple of skippable tracks.
  5. Brighter Than Creation's Dark is a tour de force that easily earns its praise and rings out as classically as any classic rock album.
  6. Less than three weeks into 2008 it's hard not to escape the feeling that with this disc we may already have the best album of the year.
  7. The result is a sprawling, 75-minute immersion in the dynamic between Patterson Hood's Neil Young/Tom Petty-influenced folk and rock and Steve Cooley's mix of Rolling Stones, stone country and Band-flavored folk-rock.
  8. Southern-rock riffs still anchor the tunes, but Brighter also throbs with pedal steel and creamy keys played by veteran R&B session guuy Spooner Oldham. [25 Jan 2008, p.68]
  9. What at first blush might sound like unhealthy entrenchment turns out to be a brilliant study in duality, as Cooley and Hood--seemingly in conversation with one another--weigh the respective pulls of decadence and dependability.
  10. Even if this type of thing isn’t your bag, it’s really pretty irresistible and is worth a shot.
  11. 80
    The Truckers have always been a direct band but this time there's a kind of foreplay, where each song gives the other time and consideration. [Mar 2008, p.100]
  12. You could argue that the Truckers should have revved up this Skynyrd side more often. But instead they let the songwriting speak for itself, and it sings loud and clear.
  13. Brighter Than Creation’s Dark belongs to Mike Cooley, who contributes seven of his best, most rousing songs about hard-luck characters—the kind you know and probably avoid--proving the Truckers are at their best singing about people at their worst.
  14. Mike Cooley steps up with some much-needed light contrast to Patterson Hood’s darker lyrical impulses, which are well represented here, sometimes with touching poignancy and others with blunt force trauma.
  15. Brighter Than Creation's Dark is one of the meanest, leanest 19-track albums you'll ever spin.
  16. 80
    That they've played themselves out of a tight corner is an impressive feat in and of itself. [Winter 2008, p.99]
  17. This is a typically crowded Drive-By Truckers album; it doesn’t need all 19 songs. But the overload is part of the point.
  18. It is vintage Truckers for the stories it tells: portrayals, in the first person or the third, of lives far too achingly real and imprinted by such forces as crystal meth, the manufacturing recession, and the Iraq war to warrant the distancing moniker Gothic.
  19. If Isbell’s departure was the cloud, Brighter Than Creation's Dark is the silver lining.
  20. Excessive length aside, Brighter Than Creation’s Dark constitutes a solid rebound from the overly scattered A Blessing and a Curse.
  21. At 19 songs and more than 75 minutes, Brighter Than Creation's Dark just barely slouches to excess, mainly because it finds the Athens, Ga., quartet at its most tuneful.
  22. While the album may not add up to a cohesive sum like "Decoration Day" or especially "Southern Rovk Opera," with 19 songs on Brighter Than Creation's Dark, the band put a lot on the table. [Winter 2008, p.81]
  23. 70
    Though less dynamic, the weary mid-tempo arrangements embody the album’s crushing hopelessness, tempered only by John Neff’s elegant pedal steel.
  24. As is, it's a sporadically brilliant effort by an exceptional band whose reach still sometimes exceeds their grasp.
  25. The best song on the Drive-By Truckers' new 19-track monolith, Brighter Than Creation's Dark, will remind you why you like them; the album's worst song, which is in fact the worst song they've ever done by a substantial margin, will teach you to love them again.
  26. John Neff’s expert, dreamy pedal steel and Shonna Tucker’s soothing, pitch-perfect harmony -- somewhere between Lucinda Williams and Neko Case--make Brighter another solid entry in the band's catalog.
  27. The tragedy, once again, is that nothing here approaches greatness. [Mar 2008, p.103]
  28. 60
    [Patterson Hood] cedes too much of the spotlight to competent but less distinctive mates Mike Cooley and Shonna Tucker. [Feb 2008, p.92]
  29. It's impeccably well done: riffs and basslines lock together as tightly as a highway-bound engine, but, like an American vehicle, the problem is excess.
  30. Sprawling America travelogue stays strictly old school.
  31. Despite such strong material, it’s a shame it has to be bogged down by a good six or seven tracks of filler.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 43 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 21
  2. Negative: 0 out of 21
  1. Jan 31, 2014
    Really really beautiful songs. They don't have to act out ridiculous emotions for us to react emotionally. The first song truly depressed me in its beauty and subject matter. Moving stuff. Full Review »